The Best Things Don't Come Easy: Why Instant Coffee Is Bad For You - Coffee Life blog by EspressoWorks

Instant Regret

Coffee has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular drinks in the world. There are many reasons why people love coffee. Some enjoy the taste, while others appreciate the social aspect of drinking it with friends and family.

Instant coffee has become an increasingly popular beverage choice among coffee consumers. However, there are several reasons why instant coffee should be avoided. 

If you are a true coffee aficionado or are simply health-conscious, kick instant coffee to the curb and try making your own high-quality brew at home. 

The Making of Instant Coffee

Short Answer: Coffee is sprayed into the air at really high temperatures, which evaporates the liquid and makes coffee crystals.

Long answer: There are two different methods used to produce instant coffee. The first is a spray-drying technique, where a fine mist of liquid coffee concentrate is sprayed into hot air at approximately 485 degrees Fahrenheit (250C). Through this process, the liquid evaporates and leaves behind small coffee crystals. 

Short Answer: Coffee extract is frozen, cut up, and then dried at below-freezing temperatures to create coffee crystals. 

Long answer: The second way is freeze-drying, which is a far more elaborate process. First, coffee is heated until it becomes a concentrated extract, which is then chilled at 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-5C). The extract takes on the consistency of a slushy in this stage, which signals that it’s time to begin the actual freeze-drying process. The slush is then further cooled at -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40C) until blocks of frozen coffee concentrate are formed. These blocks are then placed in a drying vacuum where the ice is vaporized and leaves behind instant coffee. 

3 Reasons Why Instant Coffee is Best Avoided

The process of creating instant coffee fundamentally ruins the purity of the beans. In order to change them into easily consumable granules that quickly turn into ‘coffee’, many corners have to be cut that ultimately affect the experience and cheapen the result. Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why instant coffee should be a no-go.

1. A Flavor Foul

Ardent coffee consumers place a coffee’s flavor profile above all else in their daily cup experience. As such, it is no surprise that most complaints associated with instant coffee revolve around its bitter taste. This is because the manufacturing process can sully the composition and chemical makeup of coffee beans. How does this happen? In a nutshell, your coffee is never going to taste as good as a freshly-brewed cup because of the dehydration process, the addition of intense heat, and the excessive breakdown of coffee beans, which all lead to an unnatural and unpleasant flavor profile. This process is similar in pod coffees which is why a semi-automatic espresso machine is recommended for a deep dive into your coffee’s flavor profile. 

2. The Wrong Type of Caffeine Kick

Instant coffee generally contains less caffeine than brewed coffee, which means that you won’t be able to enjoy that coffee kick that so many people rely on to start the day right. Typically, a cup of regular coffee has around 70-140mg of caffeine while the same amount of instant coffee has around 30-90 mg of caffeine. Another reason this difference is substantial and affects how you enjoy your coffee is that caffeine has a taste of its own and impacts the flavor profile of your coffee, even affecting how your coffee’s flavor changes when additional ingredients are added. 

3. Health Hazards

Did you know that instant coffee could actually be hazardous to your health? Instant coffee contains two times as much acrylamide, a chemical that is known for increasing the risk of several types of cancer and also adversely affecting the nervous system. The chemical, also found in cigarette smoke, is created during the intense heating process coffee beans undergo when being transformed into instant coffee powder. 

While the amount found in instant coffee is still not considered to be dangerous, drinking instant coffee on a regular basis is still a risk not worth taking. This is especially so since fresh coffee contains the least amount of acrylamide when compared to instant coffee and other coffee substitutes.  

Nothing’s Better than the Original

While instant coffee is a tempting way to save time and to get your coffee fix without a lot of effort, there are some serious sacrifices that have to be made to get your coffee into this unnatural state. Not only will the flavor profile of your beverage be affected in the process of making instant coffee, but prolonged drinking of instant coffee also increases your risk of serious health effects down the line. If you’re looking to save time on your morning brew, the EspressoWorks Machine sets can get your coffee from power-up to pour in 45 seconds!

Those who are true coffee lovers will know that it doesn’t really take that long to make an amazing cup of freshly brewed coffee. And for those of you who have not yet tried your hand at becoming a home barista, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience to try experimenting by buying different kinds of beans and creating your own recipe and signature style of coffee that will hit the spot time and time again. 

Life’s too short for instant regrets, but you should always make time to enjoy your coffee the right way!